Why Does He Keep Sexy Photos of His Old Girlfriends?

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I’m engaged to be married to my fiancé. We’ve have been together for 2 years now. My issue is that I want to completely trust him, but he makes it very hard for me to do so.

When the subject of past relationships comes up, he always has a different response as to the number of partners he has had and the seriousness of the relationships.

Also, I’ve found many nude or nearly nude photos on his computer of women he has dated. He also never deleted any women’s phone numbers in his phone after months of us dating. When I asked him why, he said it’s because he doesn’t want to answer when they call.

After we were already engaged, a woman he had a short fling with sent him a provocative photo which he then forwarded to a friend, I guess to prove the fact that she was still not over him.

I don’t feel in the least intimidated about these women, because I’m very secure in myself and in my appearance, but it bothers me that he even would go so low as to associate with and actually sleep with them.

I know this is just the bad part of our relationship but this is basically the main negative. He is, however, the man I fell in love with and actually thought was my soulmate very early on in our relationship.

What do you think? —Evelyn

Dear Evelyn,

I think I need a little more information about you and your fiancé to be able to give a thoughtful and well-informed answer.

I’d like to know how old you are, how long it took until he proposed, what his past looks like, how many women he’s been with, whether his parents are still married and whether he’s the type of person who prides himself on being a devoted husband and father.

There is a very valid explanation for why some men lie; their girlfriends can’t handle the truth.

If he’s very young, proposed very quickly, has a history of cheating and/or deviant behavior, and is getting married despite his lack of belief in the institution, you may have some major issues to confront.

However, without that, all I can do is insert myself in his shoes to address your insecurities about him.

(By the way, this is what I do on every single question. I ask myself: would I do what her boyfriend is doing? If I’d do it, it’s not that bad, because I know that I’m a normal guy and good husband.)

So, you’ve asked him a number of times how many partners he’s had.

You know how many times my wife has asked me? Zero.

You know why she’s never asked me?

Because it’s irrelevant. The past is the past. If I’m 100% loyal and devoted and will be by my wife’s side until the day we die, what difference does it make if I was with 10 women or 100 women? That’s right. None.

Your insecurities are the reason that this topic keeps coming up, Evelyn. And because your fiancé knows you can’t handle the truth, he doesn’t tell you the truth. If the truth is that he’s slept with 100 women and this freaks you out, there doesn’t seem to be much value in telling you, is there?

If he has to put up with the third degree for admitting his humanity, it’s just easier to tell you what you want to hear.

I’m not defending a man who is a congenital liar, by the way.

I’m suggesting that there is a very valid explanation for why some men lie; their girlfriends can’t handle the truth. The truth is that he has a checkered past. The truth is that he likes porn. The truth is that he still finds other women attractive. This doesn’t make him a bad man or a bad partner. It makes him human. And if he has to put up with the third degree for admitting his humanity, it’s just easier to tell you what you want to hear.

Next, you’ve found nude photos on his computer of women he’s dated.

And how, pray tell, did you find such photos? Did they print themselves up? Was he using them as his wallpaper for his desktop?

Or did you get on his computer and start snooping through his files, only to discover that he has a past?

Once again, he wasn’t waving these nude photos in your face: you dug for pay dirt and you hit it. Congratulations. You got the “truth”.

Finally, you seem know which exes he has listed on his phone. How exactly do you know that? It couldn’t be because you looked through his phone, could it? Because I certainly don’t know who’s on my wife’s phone and she doesn’t know who’s on mine.

All in all, Evelyn, you claim that you’re not intimidated by these women, you’re secure with yourself, and you’re happily engaged.

I think your actions indicate otherwise.

Stop snooping, start trusting, and get on with your life instead of worrying about the past.

If you can’t trust your fiancé, you shouldn’t marry him.

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Comments:

  1. 21
    mary

    He sounds very immature and no where near ready for marriage, give it some time before the wedding. He could be sleeping with any of those women on his phone and just not telling her. Don’t marry this man.

  2. 22
    Some other guy

    @Anita #21
    It’s true that we’re just assuming, but we can only operate with the information in front of us, mixed in with our own common sense and experience.
      
    The alternative to snooping is that this guy is *so out there* that he does all this obviously hurtful behavior right in front of the woman he’s going to marry, and it’s hard to imagine a woman with so little self confidence that she’d not have bailed on him a long time ago.
      
    But anything’s possible.

  3. 23
    Sparkling Emerald

    There is a slight possibility that she didn’t snoop.   I have 2 married women friends who’s husbands cheated, and left evidence under their nose.   One printed out an e-mail and “accidentally” left it on the desk of their mutual office.   Also flirted with the mistress right under the wife’s nose at a mutual social club they belonged to.   (When she didn’t catch on over that, he then left the e-mail out) Another hubby just left an incriminating letter up on their mutual computer screen.   As soon as their wives confronted them with the evidence that had been waved under their noses, their spouses broke down and asked for forgiveness.   Both of these friends of mine feel like their hubbies WANTED to get caught.   So they could repent or some such weird thing.   Yes, they are all still married, and they even say that the affair “strenghtened” the marriage.   (I am skeptical about that, but hey, it’s not my marriage)
    So maybe this guy left the evidence out in the open.   Anyway, since he forwarded nude pics of another g/f, one thing for sure, if I stayed with someone after that, I WOULD never have a fun photo shoot with him, EVER !

  4. 24
    Lia

    @ Anita # 21
      
    “Why is everyone assuming that she snooped?”
      
    She writes that she “found many nude or nearly nude photos on   his computer of women he has dated.”   She didn’t state that he showed her, she found them… she was looking at his computer.
      
    She knows he’s lying and she is looking for evidence, she found it and is using it to make him wrong.   I don’t think either one of them come out of this smelling like a rose.
      
    If I were in a relationship with someone who lied to me that would be a very hard thing for me to get past.   I don’t know that I could.   However, I also don’t believe in dragging someone’s past up and using it to beat them over the head.     
      
    I dated a guy for awhile who was very up front about the fact that he looked at porn.   I was curious and asked him about it. He showed me the sight he went to and told me what he liked specifically.   He was very open and I respected that.   I am not into porn but what he showed me did not upset me or make me like him less.   The fact that he was so open about it gave me the opportunity to get a peak inside the mind of a man.   (At least that man.)   He probably had pics of past lovers that I didn’t see (nor would I have wanted to).   
      
    I don’t mind that a partner shares stories about past loves:   his first love, the crazy hot chick he finally escaped from, the one who broke his heart, the one whose heart he broke.   These stories show his vulnerability and humanity.   When I am with a man I know he did not spring from the earth fully formed two days ago.   He has history… HIS-story.   He will share if he wants to and I am glad when he does.  
      

  5. 25
    Selena

    @ Sparkling Emerald #25
      
    Just a thought, but how many fun photo shoots have you had with boyfriends you are no longer with? How confident are you that they would NEVER share your fun photo with a friend? How confident are you that  a fun photo of you isn’t floating through multiple  forwards and internet sites without your knowledge as you write on this blog about it happening to someone else?
      
    Yeah.

  6. 26
    Nicole

    Well said Evan, I love your response!!

  7. 27
    Sparkling Emerald

    Selena #27, ONCE, with my first husband, all polaroids, and believe me, I grabbed them all when we split up.   That was over 30 years ago, before there was all this technology.   My remark about never having a fun photo shoot with him after that, was rather tongue in cheek, however, I don’t think I will ever do that with anyone, ever again, because of all this high tech stuff.
    I’m fairly confident that I grabbed up every polaroid from 1st hubby, but if by some bizarre chance, I left one behind, and he scanned it, and forwarded it to the Universe, oh well, I can’t be losing sleep over the remote possibility.   It would probably bother his current wife (#4) more than it would me.   Besides, it was over 30 years (& 30 pounds ago)   ago, unless he plastered my name on it, most people probably wouldn’t recognize it as being me.   And even if they did, a fun photo shoot from over 30 years   with a then husband, being revealed, is not the worse thing that could happen to someone.

  8. 28
    Michelle

    I really am perplexed why the question of how many partners comes up.   In ALL the dating I’ve done through my adult life, this question has never come up proactively by me or the man I was dating/in a relationship with.   It sounds like a no win question to me.      

    Like Evan said, there’s not enough info here, however, I would say this sounds like  a lot different issue (on both sides)  than he leaves the toilet seat up.

    1. 28.1
      Serenity

      Yep same here. I don’t understand why someone would ask.

      This sounds like there are issues that both people need to go off and heal by themselves…

      we all get fractured and need to take some time to figure out our sh*t, take responsibility and heal… there’s no shame in that …

       

      but not owning it or being self-aware enough to realize there’s work to be done, that is tragic.

  9. 29
    Sasha

    @Karl R: How shockingly desperate are you to have your candle waxed? Hepatitis C can be transmitted sexually. THAT s/he has it is my concern. I don’t care how you got it. I don’t want it. If you are considering marrying someone, full disclosure on health, finances and values is mandatory to avoid issues like the original post.
    Evan: I did not suggest that a partner delete their entire paper or electronic history because they were married or in a relationship. That you would jump there is interesting. If you are married, keeping photos of exes on a phone, which for many people today acts as a wallet, is about boundaries and respect. If it works for you, great. But to suggest that someone is insecure because they think that’s crap is crap.
    If the past is the past, leave it there. It is very interesting how many people think LUGGING AROUND the security blanket of pics and numbers, is ok. If you are fine with it great. If your wife wasn’t, then you should listen to her and HEAR her. And grow up.
    Relationships are about boundaries, respect and trust. The OP has none of that with this man. And it isn’t because she snooped or because she’s insecure. She knows what is right FOR HER and she shouldn’t let little boys pretending to be men tell her otherwise. Real men don’t behave like this.
    To the OP, any issues you have now will be magnified and far worse if you don’t get this settled before you marry him. You know in your heart what is right for you. He is with you now and he should care about how you feel and what is appropriate for you as a couple. Don’t let someone tell you piss is ginger ale.
    You are not an insecure snoop and I would be very careful of taking the advice of someone who called me that – especially if that person has a penis. Remember, men and women ARE different. We haven’t had the experiences of the other. And we DO (generally) view sex very differently. Go with your gut. Don’t live to regret what you know isn’t right. If you didn’t ask/look, you wouldn’t know. Your fiance’ is not a man. He is still a little boy looking at & swapping his nudey pics, keeping old numbers (after 2 years?) and disrespecting you.
    Expect and command respect. You are better than this and deserve better treatment. If he won’t respect you, you can find another man who will. They aren’t all like this. Good luck to you.

    1. 29.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Sasha, I’m going to make the mistake of continuing to engage with you on this issue.

      1) It’s not a “jump” to flip things over and apply the same standards from men to women. It’s merely common sense. If my wife has pictures (of any kind) on her cell phone that predate our relationship, a) I don’t care and b) I would have no way of knowing about it. You’re very focused on ONE side of “boundaries and respect”. How about having respect for the privacy of my wife’s cell phone?

      2) My intimation that the OP is insecure is not “crap”. In fact, I’m thinking that her insecurity is about as close to objective reality as you’re going to find in this space. Tell me how she’s NOT insecure. No, wait, don’t.

      3) Real men keep photos of exes. Real men maintain relationships with exes. Real men have plenty of sexual experience. Thus, your statement, “real men don’t behave like this” is also empirically untrue.

      4) “I would be very careful taking the advice of someone who called me (an insecure snoop) – especially if that person has a penis.” If it didn’t occur to you, Sasha, that’s exactly why the OP (and 1.5 million people last year) read this blog. Because if you want to understand how normal men think, it’s probably best to talk to a normal man. I’ve been happily married since 2008. I am Facebook friends with exes. I have photos of exes somewhere on my computer. I have a lot of sexual experience (that my wife and I joke about, because she had her slutty phase, too). This is how normal, healthy couples function. If this seems unhealthy to you, I would suggest you shift your paradigm.

    2. 29.2
      Lauren

      Very nice! Agreed!!

    3. 29.3
      s

      @Sasha

      You are so right, this guy has no clue what about women or healthy relationships. The only way this guy is in a “happy”  marriage is because he is blissfully unaware that his wife is probably cheating on him and thus doesn’t really care what he does.

      This is not a real man or a real marriage. This is a fratty douchebag of a roommate who never grew up.

  10. 30
    Linda

    Sasha,
      
    great post and i totally agree with you!

  11. 31
    Sparkling Emerald

    I agree that the past is the past, and I have never cared what someone has done BEFORE they met me.   It’s how they treat ME, once we’re a couple that I care about.   But I was on another blog, and there were all these men DEFENDING the double standard.   (The thread basically turned into a “slut shaming” free for all) Basically it was OK for them to sleep with anything that moved, but women who were as free spirited as they were (in their opinon) were soul-less sluts who cuckold their future hubbies and then put them through “divorce rape” Never could get a valid explanation on why a man with a high number could settle down and be a good faithful husband, but not a woman.
    Karl R #22 – I agree that it’s no one’s business.   Do you feel the same standard applies to women ?
    I don’t recall ever being asked about past number of partners, and I certainly don’t ask.   If someone I was dating asked me, I would just say that the past is in the past, or something like that.

  12. 32
    Selena

    @Sparkling Emerald #30
      
    I hear ya. I once had a partner who wanted me to do a fun photo shoot. I told him no because I didn’t want to risk  my then 7 yr. old son accidentally coming across them. Or God Forbid, my parents if we were in an accident and they had to go through my things. Besides, I told him with a kiss, “You can see me naked anytime you want to, you don’t need a picture!”   He got it when explained like that. What I didn’t say was that there was no way   I would have pictures like that existing because I was unwilling to risk who might end up seeing them if  we were to break up. Which we eventually did.
      
    I never thought he would be so crass as to show them to buddies, let alone put them on the internet…I could visually them stuck in an envelope and forgotten until another girlfriend or wife came across them. Or his mother, or another family member if he stored stuff at their house. This was 20 years ago, long before everyone was walking around with phones that can instantly snap pictures and send them anywhere.
      
    I’ve never come across compromising photos of a lover’s ex. I can only imagine it would make me feel icky – like I was an unwilling voyuer to a private moment between them  I didn’t need to be privy to.   And I can’t imagine how  a former girlfriend might feel if she knew I saw pictures of her like that. For these reasons I think fun photo shoots are a bad idea and I’m amazed how many women these days seemingly think nothing of it.

  13. 33
    Selena

    EMK #36 “Real men keep photos of exes.”
      
    Some  do. But how many engaged/married men keep NUDE photos of exes on their computers do you think? I’m guessin’ not so many. I think most men might see as disrespectful not only to their current love, but their previous love(s) as well.
      
    And maybe you wouldn’t care if your wife kept similar photos of guys she dated, but I’ll venture most men might feel otherwise.
      
    And I don’t know any men who would buy the “I keep their numbers in my phone so I’ll know not to answer” explanation, do you?

    1. 33.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Selena, you’re not really understanding how people act. You’re angry about how you THINK they SHOULD act.

      If I have photos (nude or otherwise) on my phone/computer/box under the bed, and I get into a relationship, do I immediately throw them out? No.

      One year later, do I throw them out? Two years later? No. Because I’m spending absolutely NO time THINKING about old photos. It would take a very conscious effort to remember to go back and delete old photos out of “respect”, wouldn’t it? If I don’t spend any time looking at old stuff, why would I worry that my wife would somehow discover this old stuff? That’s right. I wouldn’t. It’s the OPs own paranoia about what this all means that’s creating the drama.

      As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m not vouching for the character of the OPs boyfriend. I’m suggesting that her actions and fears would make it impossible for a man of INTEGRITY to date her, much less a man who had something to hide.

      If you can’t cede my point – if you really think that any man or woman should go back and throw away his/her old photos/memories/love letters out of “respect”, you have very little respect for your partner’s past. And that goes for anybody who has posted who feels that your boyfriend should erase his past for you – or never be attracted to another woman again. You’re asking him to live in your fantasyland, instead of respecting his reality. Good luck with that. Lemme know how it’s working for you.

  14. 34
    nathan

    Sasha, your posts are condescending. Insulting people based on gender or differences in opinion is a great way to get dismissed. At the same time, I think some of your outrage is warranted here, so I’ll take up a few points.
      
    The photos: with the photo collection on his computer, we don’t know enough to really judge. If he’s similar to the guy that Sparkling Emerald wrote about, that’s one thing. If he simply has a photo collection in a file on his computer, that’s quite another. The most telling, and important detail, is the forwarded pic of the ex. It demonstrates a lack of maturity and care, and is a red flag no matter how you spin it.
      
    On STDs: number of partners is less important than level of care around “safety.” There’s no 100% guarantee though – life isn’t risk free, which really unnerves some people to the point where they live in paranoia, collecting endless amounts of information about potential partners hoping that will save them. Responsible, caring partners will do things like get tested and/or use protection. They may not run you through the laundry list of their past lovers, but they’ll do what’s needed to care for your shared good health.
      
    On respect. Part of respect is not forcing partners to reveal every last detail about their lives when they aren’t ready to. Or expecting that they will conform to your wishes on subjects that are challenging, such as our sexual lives. Or digging around repeatedly in their belongings to find evidence of wrongdoing. In my opinion, when one has gone to the point of digging around for evidence, they’ve basically given up on the relationship and do not respect their partner any longer. Is such digging around justified? Sometimes it is. is it something that ultimately leads one to a better, healthier relationship with that partner? Rarely, if ever.
      
    The way I see it, the OP needs to work with what she has. She’s already crossed the lines of respect in my opinion. As has he, with the shared naked pic at the very least. I tend to think that Some other Guy is right: they’re great for each other. At the end of the day, you can’t demand or command respect and have a thriving partnership. If you don’t demonstrate respect, it won’t return to you. Neither the OP nor the boyfriend seem to respect each other. And that, more than anything else, is why this is a doomed relationship if it stays the same.
      
      

  15. 35
    Sparkling Emerald

    My 2nd husband actually asked me to get rid of 2 pics of me kissing with an ex.   I keep truckloads of scrapbooks around, but for some reason, these 2 fully clothed pics of me smooching with an ex bothered him.   He didn’t ask me to get rid of the wedding pics of 1st hubby, he didn’t ask me to get rid of all the pics of my San Francisco trip altogether with an ex boyfriend, just the smoochy ones.   (We were kissing on a bed, and used a self timer)   I thought it was weird, but I got rid of them since it bothered him so much.   Later when I was going through boxes of old photos, there were some cheesecake photos of me, not naked or anything, just some sexy glamour shots taken by my first husband.   My 2nd husband LOVED them, and wouldn’t let them put the back in the box, he wanted them out and framed.   He knew they were taken by hubby #1, he had a little bit of lingering jealousy over the ex, in the beginning, but he had no problem with the pix.    I asked him if he was sure that he wanted to keep out a pic of me that my first hubby had taken.   He just LOVED the pictures, and he didn’t mind at all. I thought that was a bit weird. Esp since he was bothered by a pic in a scrapbook, in a box, of a minor relationship, but not by a cheesecake photo taken by an ex hubby. Oh well, I guess some emotions just will never really be understood.

  16. 36
    John

    A hundred bucks says Sasha is the OP.

  17. 37
    Selena

    I’m not angry Evan, but you sure seem to be.
      
    I have entire albums full of pictures of a few former partners. (Fully clothed ofcourse.) We were together for years and the albums are records of my life, my history. Good times. Other people are often in those pictures as well, my parents, my son, my sister and her family. No reason for me to throw anything away, and I’ve never had a subsequent partner ask me to. On the contrary, they were curious to see this visual representation of my life before them.
      
    My partner’s though were not guys who saved alot of memorbilia. Maybe a few pic’s (fully clothed ofcourse) and some old cards. Nothing  disrespectful and it never occured to me they shouldn’t keep them. Why would it? In this, despite your hostile response to me, we apparently agree. What point is there for me to cede?
      
    You however did not address the points I made which is I don’t believe most men keep nude pic’s of exes on their computer when they are engaged/married. I don’t believe most men would be comfortable with their fiancee/wife doing so. And I don’t believe any man would buy the  blatant lie  about keeping exes phone numbers in their phone.   If you do, then I must question your own version of fantasyland.
      
    Thanks for the luck, but so far my version of reality is working just fine.

    1. 37.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I DID address your point, Selena. If I had pics (nude or otherwise) on my computer BEFORE I got married, they’d certainly be there AFTER I got married because I’m spending absolutely no time THINKING about the pictures just in case my wife SNOOPS on my computer. It’s not disrespectful; it’s indifferent. YOU call it disrespectful because you somehow think that you would/should/could KNOW what’s on his computer. I say you shouldn’t.

      As for the claim about exes phone numbers on his phone, I don’t have such bad relations with exes that I have to screen them if/when they call. But what you’re conveniently ignoring is that this man is her fiance of two years. Why would he propose to her willingly if his main concern was actively cheating on her? And if you don’t think he’s actively cheating on his fiance, what exactly is there to worry about? Exes are exes for a reason. Seems the OP doesn’t trust her own fiance, but it’s far from obvious to me that he shouldn’t be trusted. Go read my post about how my wife found someone else’s panties in the drier a few months after we were married:

      https://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/my-boyfriend-may-be-cheating-on-me-via-im-chat-should-i-discuss-it-with-him/

      Would YOU have acted like her and trusted that I was telling the truth? I’m guessing you wouldn’t. And that’s the difference between you and my wife. She saw me as innocent until proven guilty. You’re seeing men as guilty until proven innocent. I will continue to tell women to act like my wife. Because only in trusting your man do you end up in a healthy relationship. All this obsession with who he slept with, how many people, and photos of his exes is pointless – and will drive an innocent man – like me – to leave you.

  18. 38
    AS

    @Evan, in my opinion I think the last line of your advice sums it all up, without getting into all the ifs and buts : if you can’t trust him you shouldn’t be marrying him. Amen!

  19. 39
    Selena

    Re: 44
    Again, you seem to be reading WAAAYY to much into what I’ve written and also bound and determined to see me in a way that I know I’m not. And for what it’s worth, not that you should believe me, I have been in a situation similar to the one your wife was and made the same choice. Twice.
    Unlike your wife, I never did find out who  that pair of panties belonged to. Or the size 9  beige shorts. Oh well.

    1. 39.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Then I stand corrected on that accusation, Selena. My apologies for leaping to a false conclusion about you. I believe you may be leaping to a false conclusion about the OPs boyfriend as well.

  20. 40
    Goldie

    Before we take this discussion to a more abstract level, can we maybe all agree that the guy in the letter has exhibited some really scumbag behavior, because HOLY CRAP, WHO FORWARDS OTHER PEOPLE’S NUDIE PICTURES TO FRIENDS? Like a few people said before, how many friends did the friend forward that picture to, and what will happen to it next? This act alone is enough to question this man’s credibility on, well, pretty much everything else. If we were talking about an abstract guy who’s an honest decent man and always on his best behavior, then yes I would agree that keeping old photos is okay. He may just have forgotten to delete them from his computer. If he’s like me, and his photo collection is in a giant folder named “pix” with hundreds of files inside, I would totally believe that he has no ulterior motives in keeping the nudie pictures. This guy however is a different story.
      
    Selena, I agree 100% about the phone numbers. Who here doesn’t hate it when their phone contacts are cluttered with a ton of old junk, so they can never find a number they need? Now who would willingly keep the old junk, just so he knows not to answer in the unlikely chance that the old junk calls him? Nope, not buying.

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